Tuesday, March 17, 2009

e-Borders or e-Bonkers?

It seems that the Government has decided to look tough on immigration, after a decade of presiding over huge and uncontrolled levels of economic migration that make earlier squabbles over illegal asylum seekers look like haggling over small change (David Blunkett had claimed there was 'no obvious limit' to economic migration).

Unfortunately they seem to have taken a step too far with their new e-Borders system by trying to use it to solve any and every problem of criminal justice. On Saturday we found out about plans to require everyone who leaves the country to provide a multitude of personal details including itineraries:
Even swimmers attempting to cross the Channel and their support teams will be subject to the rules which will require the provision of travellers' personal information such as passport and credit card details, home and email addresses and exact travel plans.
Then yesterday it turned out that the planned scheme will also have the scope to enforce civil penalties imposed by local authorities, e.g. for parking infringements:
Ministers are examining whether to use powers to track the travel plans of everyone leaving the country under a system known as e-Borders to deal with the problem of unpaid fines.
Has the government really not learnt about the limitations of government IT projects? Are they really willing to risk the loss of personal information on this scale, as has happened from so many other government databases? Do they really think that it is right to intrude so much into people's private lives?

Does e-Borders finally show that e-Gorders has really gone e-Bonkers?

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